Commissioners start with good first step

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Every taxpayer in the Lawrence County should applaud the Lawrence

County Commissioners but also reserve far more praise for later.

Last week, the commissioners asked Lawrence County Chief Deputy Auditor Chris Kline to prepare a report outlining how much each county office spends and how quickly each office will go broke if things don't change.

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This pro-active thinking is exactly what our county, city and all government entities needs to embrace. Since the county only adopted a budget last month, now is a perfect time to be good stewards of public funds. If this was done at the end the of the fiscal year it would be worthless.

County leaders know that they have little or no options to quickly address its revenue shortfalls. More hits could even be on the way since the state and local governments have looked at reducing revenue-providing programs such as the Local Government Funds and the Community Development Block Grant program.

The only choice is to examine expenses. We believe the commissioners have taken the first step on the right path however it could be a long, treacherous journey fraught with pitfalls.

This proposal will not mean anything if county commissioners don't take a hard stand and make sometimes unpopular decisions. The commissioners must take the data provided and wield it with authority to make sure that county officeholders realize the magnitude of the situation.

Plus, much of the onus has now been shifted to those officeholders. Their budgets have been set. They will soon know when they are going to go broke, leaving no room for excuses.

Many have expressed concerns that they have not been provided enough funding to do their jobs but they must learn to live within their means.

It won't be easy but it is a necessity until some more revenue starts to materialize.

So, for starting to make the change our leaders deserve a round of applause. If they can follow through with it and keep the county fiscally sound they may deserve something far more valuable - votes.